3 Types Of Worlds [World Building]

It’s one thing to create a new world when you’re world building for a story, but did you know there are a few ways to go about it?

Sure, you can find a checklist online and create everything one by one – races, religion, towns and cities, weather, etc. But do you know what kind of world you’re creating?

3 Types of Worlds | World Building | Creative Writing | RachelPoli.com

Alternate Reality

Alternate reality is re-imagining the world we already live in. You can take your hometown and twist it around so it would fit your story’s needs. For example, if you’re writing science fiction you can turn your world into a futuristic one.

You can change history that actually happened, alter it, or pretend it never happened at all. Maybe the world is dirtier than it already is, or cleaner? Maybe humans never inhabited the earth in the first place and they’re going to now. So who lives here now?

Imaginative Worlds

Imaginary worlds are worlds that you completely make up yourself. They’re brand new from your mind and are totally fictional. This is typically used for fantasy. Entire maps are created with brand new, made up places. There may be new races of people along with religion, food, currency, and more.

I feel like this is the most difficult world to create because you’re starting everything completely from scratch. I also believe it’s the most fun, though.

Real Locations

Just what it sounds like, real locations are based off real-life locations. There’s no alternate reality from the first point above, everything is just as it is. This is typically used in basic fiction with no fantastical elements.

This requires a lot of research on the place you’re characters are living. If it’s not where you grew up, it helps to travel there and explore. Why not get a vacation out of it, huh? Or you can buy tour guys, Google is a great resource, the possibilities are endless.

What’s your favorite kind of world to create? Do you mix and match the types? Is there a type I missed? Let me know in the comments below!

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25 thoughts on “3 Types Of Worlds [World Building]

  1. I’ve been worldbuiling so much for the last couple of years you’d think I’d get sick of it but no. My greatest joy as I craft a story is the world I build all around it. Thanks for the reminder about the different types of world building, because you can end up always in one type only. World building is for everything. I don’t think I’ve ever said world building so much. xD

  2. I confess that although my favourite to read is ‘Imaginative Worlds’, my favourite to write is ‘Alternative Worlds’. I don’t know why I have such different preferences between reading and writings – maybe I less imagination than others?

    • I don’t think it’s less imagination. I think it’s just what you prefer to create. Imaginative worlds are so in-depth and tricky that sometimes you just want to be warped there without doing any of the work. 😉

        • As corny as this will sound, I do believe there is magic somewhere in real life. I don’t know how no one has discovered it yet, but I do believe it’s there, lol.

          • Oh I’ve always believed that too, and I feel like lots of people have discovered it and then done the sensible thing and left it to its own devices! I certainly know I’ve been to places and knew not to look too close or dig too deep, and I bet plenty of others have done too! Humans wouldn’t have lasted this long without learning what they shouldn’t play around with!

              • Definitely! But then there are a *lot* of fairy tales explaining why humans getting greedy with magic very quickly become former-humans in some way! Yes, you could wish for the genie to give you more wishes, but there is a distinct probability that you will *reeeeeally* quickly wish that you hadn’t done anything of the kind…

  3. Mine is a mix match of all three types…but favorite to read is the imaginary world.. something like harry hotter or narnia

    • I think my favorite to read would be imaginative as well. But creating a world based on real life or altering it somewhat is fun and can be interesting to see how other people perceive it.

  4. Basing places in your stories on places that you have visited is great fun. I frequently do that in my writing.

Let me know your thoughts!

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